Two Kinds of Christmas: The Second One

Category: Daily Diary

This is Part Two. For Part One of this entry, click here.

We were in Pittsburgh over Christmas to spend time with my side of the family and to visit my sister (with the bionic legs) and to make ourselves insane by driving 8 1/2 hours in a car with a two year old who doesn't ever stop asking for things and who refuses to take "no" for an answer. A two year old who does not sleep in the car at night, or so we discovered. A two year old who I was tempted to sell at a truck stop somewhere in Ohio.

Fun times.


My family has a few holiday traditions but they are not rooted in our ethnic heritage, per se. They are a conglomeration of assumed rituals, manifest traditions and customs powered by momentum that fit our family personality so well that it would be a shame to abandon them now.

Being of mixed Irish and Polish or Russian heritage (whichever country owned Vilnius at the time) has very little to do with how we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas season usually begins with the confused and much delayed trading of names for the gift exchange. This is accompanied by the chaos of no one knowing what to get anyone else, my parents' insistence that they don't need anything really-I'm-fine-I-just-want-us-to-be-together-for-the-holidays, and the annual long distance phone calls needed to track down who gets what. There may or may not be drinking of alcohol and/or increases in Zoloft prescription dosages during this time.

The arrival at the abode where everyone will spend the holiday begins what is known as "the feeding of the travelers." As soon as the weary travelers tumble through the door, my parents begin to ply them with food. It does not matter that it is 3 pm or 3 am. Ham sandwiches on baguettes, meatloaf with gravy, bagels and cream cheese...a long list of options are kept at the ready as they have already called five days before to begin stocking the fridge.


The tree is trimmed. If there is tinsel being used, it is hung

Christmas Eve. Mushroom Bisque. Midnight Mass. In that order.


Christmas morning. With children, we are forced to wake up long before we would normally roll out of bed. Since this year that meant a wake-up call at 6 am, some of us got up two hours before we normally would. Some of us got up six to seven hours before we normally would. I'm not going to name names here.


There is a mound of presents around the tree that makes it impossible to fit furniture in the living room. My mom is very, very into presents. A plethora of presents. Huge presents. Now that I own my very own toddler, I realize that a lot of these presents also make noise. A lot of noise. She thinks that is great fun and awesome payback for the toddlerhood that I inflicted upon her. For example, what did she get for her littlest grandbaby this year? Tickle Me Elmo. Who should be renamed cackling Elmo.


And for us, her three daughters? We each got a new front loading washer and dryer. I KNOW! It was like being on Oprah. (YOU get a humpback whale!! And YOU get a humpback whale!!!**) Seriously. I've have been surprised very few times in my life and this was one of them. Freaked me out. There will be inquiries as to whether she is adopting more children at this time. She will be taking applications for new children shortly. Probably as soon as she reads this blog entry.


Moving on. Ahem.

We then spend the day sleeping in various places around the house until I can stand the sloth no more and try to talk other people into venturing outside with me. This isn't easy. This year, I could only round up Aaron, Grace and my niece Morgan for a hike through a muddy field .



Finally, we all eat an enormous dinner where my mother frets that nothing is up to standard and we all reassure her that everything is fantastic over and over again as we stuff our faces. And then we go to bed... again. Except for those of us who stay up until 3 am playing video games. And eat the leftovers out of the fridge. But I'm not naming any names. (**Cough**JC**Cough)

And that, my friends, is Christmas.

** Many thanks to my nephew, JC, for introducing me to the comic stylings of Dane Cook.

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So yinz was in da Burgh for Christmas? You can read my fun with small children and the festive season here:

I agree. The large appliances are very cute!

Sounds like you had a wonderful time even if it was a bit "hectic". It also sounds like you are feeling much better. I am glad. Happy New Year!

Glad you enjoyed it.

Love ya,

DAD (made in the USA with Polish parts)

Ha! Ha! Ha!

I love your mom.

Way more than Oprah.

If you're ever looking to drop Grace off somewhere in Ohio, we'll take her. What's another loud toddler in the mix? But for future trips, may I suggest the portable DVD player? They are quite useful.

christmas in the burgh? we lived there for 8 years and never managed to actually spend the holidays at home, instead visiting parents and relatives in environs elsewhere. looks like you had better weather than what we usually returned to.

and um, a new washer? what a great present!

Your people appear to celebrate the holiday in the same way my people do. But we have more booze.

Thank god.

Happy New Year!

OMG great Dane Cook reference! Awesome :)

They are making another map wall on another home improvement show ( real simple) It always make me think of you guys...

Best Christmas write up EVAH! :)

Better, even, than A Christmas Story cause it's real. :D

Thanks all!

Saple, seriously? Some future homeowner will be cursing that TV show someday, no doubt.

Jenny, word. My mom definitely had her Oprah moment there.

Gerette, she gets up at 5:45 am every single morning, so don't tempt me.

Susan, oh I forgot to mention the booze!

Current and former Burgh dwellers...hey! Where did yoonz live in the Burgh? South Hills here.

I'm up here in the beautiful northern paradise of Beaver.

Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It's people like you that make my day :)

Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I've been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you're an inspiration to me and i'm sure many others!

I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up :)

Great wordpress blog here.. It's hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! take care and see you soon

Keep focusing on your blog. I love how we can all express our feelings. This is an extremely nice blog here :)


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